The Role of Emotions in Buying & Selling

Why do people make the buying decisions that they do? People almost always buy for emotional reasons and then defend their decision to purchase with logic.

Buying & Selling Are Emotional Sports

Think about the last time you made a significant purchase.

How did you FEEL about your decision?  Were your positive feelings greater or lesser than your negative feelings?  What specifically sold you on moving forward at the moment you made the decision to purchase?

According to Statista, there were more than 125 million people worldwide engaged in direct sales as their chosen profession.  Add to this all the people roles and professions which lean heavily upon selling – indirect sales, marketing, advertising, customer care, business development – and we’re easily talking a third to half a billion people.

If you’ve ever had to persuade other people, such as peers, children, parents, co-workers, employees, or bosses to take action, you are selling.  Thus, it may be safe to say that almost every person on the planet is engaged in selling.

That’s why Zig Ziglar’s quote is so important for you.  To win anyone to your way of thinking, you must focus of their emotions, not just their minds.

Emotions are Generated by the Words We Say, How We Say Them and With What Body Language

Words. Have you ever noticed how some words make you feel happy and excited, while other words generate fear or depress you?   Here are a few examples:

  • Words that make us feel positive: sunny, cheerful, inspiring, engaging, heartwarming, thrilling, joyful, belonging, happy, love, trust, and pleasing. These words generate positive emotions (and describe them, too).
  • Words that make us feel negative: fear, doubt, consequence, penalty, cost, anxious, hurt, damaged, worry, hate, destroy, broken, harmful, depressing, and lawsuit.  These words generate negative emotions as well as describe them.

Delivery. Likewise, the way someone delivers a message generates emotions.  If their message is upbeat, warm, caring, and interesting, we’ll be favorably moved.  On the other hand, if their delivery is angry, depressing, critical, neutral or cold, we’ll receive it unfavorably.

Body Language. Look at the eight faces at the top of this article and imagine each face saying the words, “I have something to tell you…”  The message you get is dependent on what her body language (in this case, her expression) is telling you. 

Key Sales Takeaway: when you communicate, people always remember how they felt more than what they heard.

A Simple Lesson in Emotional Persuasion from Julia Diaz

Which of these Julia Diaz’s would you buy from?  Two days ago, Julia took time to fully understand you, your circumstances, and what you wanted and needed.  Today she she’s meeting with you via Zoom, and this is what she said and did:

Almost everyone gravitates towards Julie Diaz A because her approach generates more positive feelings. Her enthusiasm and conviction are infectious, and you cannot help but smile back at her.  It is not that Julie Diaz B said or did anything to offend you… but she came across as flat and not convinced about what solutions her team came up with, so she doesn’t inspire trust or any warm feelings.

In the absence of intentionally generating positive emptions, buyers and prospects will interpret the neutral message as slightly negative and uninspiring.  That’s why it is critical to create positive emptions in all aspects of the message – the right words, delivered in an emotionally positive way, with body language that matches the delivery.   

Key Sales Takeaway: In the absence of intentionally creating positive emotions, your message will have a slight negative tone.

This article is based on principles taught in both of Boyer Management Group’s acclaimed Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer sales development programs found at B2B and B2C Sales Essentials

I love working with people and organizations who want to improve their effectiveness! Here are several outstanding resources that can help you and your organization to go to the next level:

  • Improving your (or your team’s) management and leadership skills: Leading Through People™. This acclaimed program equips participants in thousands of current and emerging best practices of leadership, hiring, and talent development.
  • Raising your (or your team’s) selling and sales management effectiveness: B2B Sales Essentials™ (among the 30-plus courses we offer are ones on selling with emotional intelligence and storyselling!)
  • Conducting a more effective job search: Get a Better Job Faster™

I help leaders and aspiring leaders improve their performance and acumen, and sales and marketing professionals to become more productive and effective. I also work with some of the world’s top employers by helping them get the most out of their talented people. My company’s extensive leadership development course catalog provides effective skills-building for everyone in the organization, from the new / developing leader to the seasoned C-level executive. We develop sales teams with our highly regarded B2B Sales Essentials™ and B2C Sales Essentials™ tailored sales curriculum. My company’s coaching programs produce significant results in compressed periods of time. To find out more, please visit us at, email us at, or call us at 215-942-0982.


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